The Napoleon of New York: Mayor Fiorello La Guardia by H. Paul Jeffers

By H. Paul Jeffers

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Additional resources for The Napoleon of New York: Mayor Fiorello La Guardia

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When he learned of an opening as consular agent in Fiume, he applied and was accepted. The job paid eight hundred dollars 28 THE NAPOLEON OF NEW YORK a year, a princely sum for a single man of twenty-one. Some of it went to help support his father, mother, sister, and brother. Much of the remainder financed dinners and evenings at concerts in the company of attractive women, lounging in beer gardens, membership in the Austrian Soccer Club, sunny resorts on the Adriatic Sea coast, and anything else that struck a bachelor’s fancy.

Several decades before getting someone elected became the province of professional imagemakers, pollsters, and “spinmeisters” in “war rooms,” they educated La Guardia in the peculiar politics of New York City in which winning was a matter of fighting with the gloves off. It was a gospel of bare-knuckled battling that Fiorello had known as a little dago who had grabbed a chair to put himself on the same footing as a taller opponent, except that the fists were words. It was fine to make a great speech to a large crowd, but the way to win an election was man-to-man.

The job paid eight hundred dollars 28 THE NAPOLEON OF NEW YORK a year, a princely sum for a single man of twenty-one. Some of it went to help support his father, mother, sister, and brother. Much of the remainder financed dinners and evenings at concerts in the company of attractive women, lounging in beer gardens, membership in the Austrian Soccer Club, sunny resorts on the Adriatic Sea coast, and anything else that struck a bachelor’s fancy. Among his duties was handling a growing number of emigrants whose destination was Ellis Island in New York.

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